White House rips call for Cape Wind probe
By John Zaremba and Christine McConville
Friday, June 22, 2012
The White House fired back at the Florida congressman who cast Cape Wind as a Solyndra-style scandal worthy of a federal probe and accused the Sunshine State Republican of blowing taxpayer dough to investigate the $535 million, President Obama-backed green energy debacle.
“This is the same member of Congress who wasted over $1 million of taxpayer dollars on a politically motivated investigation that has turned up zero evidence of wrongdoing,” the White House said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns’ committee last year looked into the collapse of Solyndra, a California solar-power firm that defaulted on a mammoth federal loan. The probe found that White House officials forced their budget experts to approve the loan despite their doubts about the firm’s fiscal soundness.
Stearns sees a similar pattern in Cape Wind, after reading Herald reports that Federal Aviation Administration officials felt political pressure to approve the 130-turbine offshore wind farm and brushed aside concerns that the 440-foot structures would interfere with radar and ensnare low-flying planes.
The internal FAA emails — obtained by Cape Wind foes through a public records request and provided to the Herald — do not specifically name Obama or Gov.Deval Patrick. But other public documents in the decade-old Cape Wind saga show that Patrick not only embraced the project but also was prodded to convince Obama to do the same.
In an October 2009 letter to Patrick days before an Obama clean-power speech at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cape Wind President Jim Gordon asks the governor to urge the president to name-drop the project — and even tries to script the commander in chief’s speech.
“The President could say that with the Federal Government releasing a very favorable Final Environmental Impact Statement last January, it’s now time to follow Massachusetts’ lead and have the Department of the Interior issue the final approval to launch the offshore renewable energy industry in the United States,” Gordon wrote.
Days later, an aide to former state energy chief Ian Bowles wrote a memo summing up Bowles’ chat with a New York Times [NYT] editorial writer — and painting Patrick as Obama’s green energy-agenda setter:
“Secy. Bowles also stressed that Gov. Patrick is the first state official to support Cape Wind, and he is pursuing an ambitious clean-energy agenda that maps President Obama’s.”